Jobs are scarce in Japan, so women are turning to a once-shunned profession: “hostessing.” They’re paid handsomely to serve drinks to, and, more importantly, lavish attention on, the patrons of gentlemen’s clubs, the New York Times reports. A good flirt can easily earn $100,000 a year. “There is less resistance to becoming a hostess,” says one club manager. “In fact, it’s seen as a glamorous job.”
Religious and women’s groups warn that hostessing can be a doorway to the sex industry, but it’s rapidly gaining acceptance; one lawmaker is even a former hostess. A survey of high school girls ranked hostessing as the country’s 12th most popular profession, beating out public servant (18) and nurse (22). “It’s only when you’re young that you can earn money just by drinking with men,” says one 17-year-old.